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NL Central becomes center of attention but Braves are still No. 1

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The Brewers had a nine-game winning streak but are still just in fourth place in a red-hot NL Central.

The Brewers just reeled off nine straight wins. The Reds more than doubled up their opponents in runs, 49 to 23, while winning eight of 10. The Pirates have won 11 of 15, including three of four from the No. 1-ranked Braves. The Cardinals just swept the Nationals, most pundits' preseason favorites.

Each of those clubs ranks among the game's hottest teams and they all share the baseball zip code of the NL Central, the only division where four of the five teams -- sorry, Cubs fans -- have a winning record.

Those recent exploits have catapulted those four NL Central clubs into the Nos. 5 through 8 slots of this week's Power Rankings, with three of them having made jumps of at least seven spots to get there.

This year's Power Rankings, as a reminder, are now ordered based on a quantitative formula that considers season record, last-10 record (with a small strength of schedule component) and season run differential.

NOTE: All stats are updated through Wednesday, April 24.

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